Conjunctivitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Inflammation of the conjunctiva arising from a broad group of etiologies. Commonly referred to as “pink eye.”


  • Bacterial:
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Haemophilus influenzae
    • Gonococcal:
      • Ophthalmic emergency
    • Chlamydia:
      • Transmission occurs via autoinoculation from genital secretions.
      • Often occurs in newborns
  • Viral:
    • Adenovirus most common
    • Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is caused by adenovirus subtypes.
    • Frequently associated with upper respiratory infections or exposure to someone with a red eye
    • Most commonly referred to as “pink eye”
    • Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
    • Recurrent ocular infection occurs in 25% patients within 2 yr.
    • Use of steroids is contraindicated:
      • Allergic
    • Frequent history of allergy, atopy, nasal symptoms
    • Contact related
    • May be due to chemical irritation, hypersensitivity from preservatives, medications, shampoo, chlorine, dust, smoke
    • Pseudomonas commonly implicated organism:
      • May be found in patients using saliva to clean contact lenses

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